Video has proved its dominance as a marketing tool, and live video has proven to be its most engaging incarnation. Live video is a natural extension of strategies marketers have been using for years. It brings our customers together -- around the ideas, events and people that matter most to them.
A decade ago, live video entered the picture and transformed the potential reach of any event. Physical location was no longer a barrier. Marketers are now sharing ideas and events with audiences around the world through live video every day. This year, 77% of b-to-b marketers will use in-person events as part of their content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Live video gives brands the opportunity to unlock the reach of these events, enlarging the live audience and radically changing the ROI calculation.
For example, at 4A's Transformation 2016, over 1,000 leaders across the advertising, marketing and media industry came together to share ideas and insights. As is often the case, many members could not make it to Miami for the conference, yet 4A's wants engagement and participation regardless of attendance. The event was streamed live and online viewership increased the total audience 25x, including over 16,000 people watching live. These remote viewers are a valuable asset. According to Digitell, 30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend that same event the following year.
The power of broadcasting is now in the hands of brands, but as marketers continue to learn to harness live video for consumer engagement, here are five best practices that should be kept top of mind:
1. Embrace the authenticity and accessibility of live video. In 2016, live streaming has already gone from being a nice-to-have to a way of life, with an expectation of access and authenticity. As video eats up our customers' news feeds, live video is perhaps the best way to stand out. More than half of global marketers name video as their preferred content format and the format that delivers the best ROI. Only live video transports the viewer to another place and delivers the real-time engagement that makes an event memorable.
2. Build a live audience. Audience is just as important as content, as the power of live video is accentuated by the shared experience and real-time community. If you don't have the built-in fan base of SpaceX or Jazz at Lincoln Center, it can be challenging to build a substantive live audience around your events and announcements. Be sure to utilize all your channels to create scheduled destination viewing, and leverage networks like Facebook and Twitter that combine knowledge of your customer interests with the ability to immediately engage them.
3. Don't wait to join the live world. Quality and affordability are no longer obstacles to reliably delivering live video content at scale. Whether it's simple streaming from a phone or more sophisticated multi-camera broadcasting, today's brands have access to the necessary technology and must learn which types of live content resonate with which audience at what time. Remember, quality matters. According to KZO, 62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand with a low-quality video experience. It's akin to the negative impression that slow and ugly websites make on consumers.
4. Use new technology to enhance the live viewing experience. If you're going to leverage live video for your event, make the most of it. The industry now has audience interaction and audience engagement functionality that can make viewing an event online as captivating as attending in-person. Get your audience involved by leveraging social, chat, survey and polling technology. This engagement will inevitably lead to amplification as your audience shares their enthusiasm.
5. Leverage analytics to demonstrate ROI. According to Vidyard, 74% of survey respondents said video content produces better conversions than any other form of content, and Facebook has reported that live video engagement is meaningfully higher than for recorded video. As with all digital media, tracking and analytics of live video are powerful tools for marketers to wield. Use them to understand who your audience is, where they are watching, and how they are interacting with your content. Streaming video platforms can provide the compelling data you need to measure ROI and ensure that live video fits into your overall marketing strategy.
2016 is a special year for live video. As marketers evaluate and prioritize content distribution channels, live video will continue to prove a rewarding and highly engaging way to connect with consumers. As more brands go live, we will continue to witness creative and groundbreaking new ways to connect with audiences and customers in an authentic and seamless way.